Sen. McConnell Appoints Islamophobia Validator To Federal Commission

March 27, 2012 5:04 pm ET — Matt Gertz

Five years ago, Zuhdi Jasser was just a physician and self-proclaimed Muslim leader who used regular appearances on Glenn Beck's television and radio shows to criticize the supposed "Islamist" leanings of leading American Muslim groups. Now, thanks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he's the newest Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom:

The U.S. Congress has appointed two individuals, Dr. Robert P. George and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, to serve as Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF monitors and advocates for religious freedom abroad wherever that right is being abused.  USCIRF also offers policy solutions to improve conditions at the critical juncture of foreign policy, national security, and international religious freedom standards. On March 20, the Commission issued its 2012 annual report which recommended to the Secretary of State that the Obama administration designate 16 nations as countries of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.

Dr. George was appointed by The Speaker of the House John Boehner. Dr. Jasser was appointed by the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Jasser gained prominence thanks to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the House Homeland Security Committee chairman who, in spite of Jasser's lack of both experience in the law enforcement field and followers in the Muslim community, selected him as a witness for the first of the committee's hearings on "the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and that community's response."

A year ago we wrote of Jasser:

With no relevant credentials to speak of, Jasser's authority in conservative circles as an "expert on radical Islam" seems to be derived from his willingness to frequently attack the Obama administration (whose terrorism advisor Jasser says "deserves honorary membership in the Muslim Brotherhood") and Muslim-American civil rights groups ("front organizations" for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Jasser).

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Given these facts, it should be no surprise that Fox News' Glenn Beck has dubbed him the "one Muslim that we were all searching for after 9-11" and said he is "a voice that I trust." Jasser has appeared on Beck's show to provide "expert" validation of Beck's zany apocalyptic conspiracies in the wake of recent unrest in the Middle East.

The Center for American Progress has also highlighted Jasser's background and work, describing him as a "leading light of the Islamophobia network" and "the validator for Islamophobic propaganda."

In spite of those deficiencies, McConnell apparently thinks Jasser is the best qualified individual to serve on a commission whose mandate is the spread of religious liberty.

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